Whereas the Xerox researcher "was eager to juggle multiple threads of work simultaneously, " the skeptical questioner viewed his own work "as an exercise in solitary, singleminded concentration." In the choices we have made, consciously or not, about how we use our computers, we have rejected the intellectual tradition of solitary, single-minded concentration, the ethic that the book bestowed on us.
Litchat, however, is singleminded. Seemingly, it can only conceive of a writer's persona as one thing at a time: a prick, a detached brainiac, a suffering saint. Litchat is adamant, yes, and impervious to factual challenges, but that tends to be true of all strong opinions formed on a basis of incomplete and selective evidence. The weaker our footing, the more fiercely we defend it. We believe it not because it fits what we know-we know next to nothing, after all-but because we need to believe this particular thing at this particular time, regardless of what the truth may be. It suits our purposes to do so, and one of those purposes may be as flimsy as the desire to be excused from reading the books in question before telling the world what we think of them.